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The Art of Shaping a Bonsai Tree

Ryan Neil has spent over a decade working to master the Japanese art of bonsai. As he shapes and forms these miniature trees, he describes how closely intertwined humans are with them. Filmmaker Ryan Bush captures Neil’s dedication to the artform and the responsibility he holds while practicing his craft. “If you don’t respect that life and death is a very real part of the creative process of bonsai … you don’t have anything in the end except for a big dead tree.”

Visit: theartisanscup.com/. A Film By: Ryan J. Bush (ryanjbush.com/). Commissioned By: Bonsai Mirai (bonsaimirai.com/). Creative Direction: The DeSpains (thedespains.com). Opening Title Animation: Caleb Cappock (uphilldownhill.com/), Music By: C418 - Tracks used: “Taswell” and “Intro” - (c418.bandcamp.com/). Filmed in Oregon.

The Short Film Showcase spotlights exceptional short videos created by filmmakers from around the world and selected by National Geographic editors. We look for work that affirms National Geographic's belief in the power of science, exploration, and storytelling to change the world. To submit a film for consideration, please email sfs@natgeo.com. The filmmakers created the content presented, and the opinions expressed are their own, not those of National Geographic Partners.